The reason why you're here on this wiki. So read it easy!
Yukkuris are fictional creatures created by the fanbase of the Touhou video game series. They consist of (usually) disembodied heads of various characters from Touhou, which are somehow able to move about, speak, and eat, despite the fact that they are only heads. A large amount of cartoons, stories and background concerning them has been created, despite not being official parts of the Touhou series. However, Touhou's creator ZUN has poked fun at yukkuri in his works, especially the phrase "Take it Easy".
They get their name from their catchphrase in Japanese, "Yukkuri shiteitte ne!" which literally means "Do it slowly!" or "Yoụ should be taking it easy!" but is more often translated as "Take it easy!" The term "Yukkuri" is Japanese for "slowly", but has connotations of being at ease or relaxing. Thus, their name is literally "Slow" or "Easy".
Origin of Yukkuri
The images of yukkuri predate the catchphrase; once they were combined, the blogger Makako took note and began making comics. For a detailed explanation, see the Book of Genesis. http://riceballman.fc2web.com/AA-Illust/Data/Yukkuri.html
Because yukkuri are based off of existing Touhou characters, they are usually called "Yukkuri (Name of Touhou character)". Because Japanese names go family name first, given name last, the name of the Touhou character is their "given name", though in practice it acts as a "species name" because many individuals based on one Touhou character exist. It is not clear if the "Yukkuri" in their names should be considered a family name, a title, or an adjective. The yukkuri themselves most often refer to each other by just the "species name", and even themselves in the third person by their "species name". Humans will often simply refer to them as "Yukkuri".
Because there are multiple individual yukkuris based on the same character, it is nearly impossible to tell apart different individuals of the same "species". Neither humans nor the yukkuri themselves seem to use separate names for individuals of a "species" (based on the same Touhou character); They are all referred to by their "species name". In some situations they will append a title, such as "Mama Reimu" or "Big Sister Alice".
Several species have nicknames. For example, Yukkuri Reimu = Yukkureimu, Yukkuri Marisa = Yukkurisa, Yukkuri Shameimaru = Kimeemaru. Often times, the nickname will be formed by clumping the characters name with the word yukkuri, as seen above.
Juvenile yukkuris are called "koyukkuri" or "baby yukkuri" as a whole, but when calling them by name, they use the regular "Yukkuri (Name)" format; people sometimes use "(Name) koyukkuri", or, if the species has a nickname, sometimes they prefix "ko-" to the name to differentiate between children and adults, e.g., "Koyukkureimu" "Koyukkurisa". A similar method is used for "dosuyukkuri", or "boss/humongous yukkuri". However, in stories, and in a part of the fandom, the koyukkuris will refer to themselves and be referred with the slurred version of their names, thus, for example, a Komarisa would describe itself as "Yukkuchi Maricha", and its sibling as "Widdle shish Maricha" and "Big shish Maricha".
Physical Description and behavior
The physiology of yukkuris is not standardized, and many authors make up their own rules for yukkuri biology. Some of the properties are contradictory. This section is on the most commonly used properties.
The yukkuri are (possibly magically) animated manjuu, a kind of Japanese pastry. Reimu types are filled with anko (red bean paste), and other types have different filling. (See the comparison table and profile pages for individual types.)
The average "adult" yukkuri is about the size of a basketball, but there is no actual limit to their size. A yukkuri the size of a basketball will weigh about 7 pounds (3 kg). If the yukkuri has enough food, it will continue to grow, reaching a diameter of 2 meters or more. Newborn yukkuris are usually the size of a small tomato, though they can be as small as a cherry if they're born prematurely. Sometimes, a yukkuri may grow to become a Dosuyukkuri, which is generally seen as the leader of a yukkuri group and several times larger than an average human. Environment also plays a factor in size, as yukkuri in city and urban areas are normally the size of baseballs or even golf balls, while wild ones are the sizes listed above.
They usually move by jumping, though other methods of locomotion also appear. Most notably, some types are able to fly. They are all generally shown to be slower than that of an average human or animal.
Most can manipulate items using their mouths and tongues, or their hair for types with braids.
Despite apparently possessing anatomical elements such as teeth and hair, as well as accessories made of cloth, a yukkuri is completely edible. Humans have been portrayed swallowing smaller yukkuri whole, though this isn't the best of ideas as this has led to many choking incidents.
Pain, suffering, fear and despair strangely makes a yukkuri’s bean paste sweeter. Conversely, emotionally dead yukkuris taste bad and koyukkuris are slightly sour. What caused the change in flavor based on emotions is unknown as of current and most writers and authors tend to not include this in their works.
Yukkuris have various accessories, usually hats and ribbons. These items are present from birth and grow with the yukkuri. A yukkuri that has lost its accessory is despised by other yukkuris or treated with great suspicion. Sometimes they don't perceive the non-accessoried ones as yukkuri at all, instead viewing them as some strange and hostile creatures and attacking (or at times even eating) them on sight.
There are various theories about yukkuris' accessories. They may be made of tough dough, hardened bean paste or some form of cotton candy. They are more resistant to water than the yukkuri itself. Yukkuri Marisas are sometimes portrayed using their hats as boats or umbrellas. This resistance to water may be due to the accessory's more dense (concentrated) structure, or simply to magic.
However, most current stories agree that yukkuri's teeth are made of hardened sugar, sturdy enough to allow them munching on food, and always growing similar to the growth of teeth in rodents. As such, stray yukkuris are likely to end with warped, spotted teeth, while pet yukkuris and wild yukkuris will usually be able to keep their teeth polished and regular by eating or gnawing. According to some stories, yukkuri can regrow missing teeth by consuming enough orange juice, whereas some other stories hint that the Anon has to cut a "prosthetic" tooth out of sugar cubes and replace the fallen one.
Despite being apparently hardened cotton candy, yukkuri hair and body can and must be kept clean: while wild yukkuris do regularly clean clean on all their body, pet shops sell special shampoo for owners of pet yukkuri to clean their pets. Cleaning must be done gently and regularly, as lethal mold (Mr. Mold) can grow on dirty yukkuri.
Anything they eat is converted into the appropriate filling for that yukkuri type. This process is magical in nature and doesn't obey the rules of chemistry. For example, a yukkuri could convert radioactive waste into harmless bean paste, effectively transmuting uranium and various isotopes into compounds of mostly carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. This, however, doesn't always work and harmful material will most likely kill the yukkuri before being converted into paste.
Their intellectual capabilities are low, usually on an animal level, with the exception of the capability for speech (see theories), and their memory span is usually very short. They seem to be able to remember serious injuries and incidents where they were unable to take it easy, however. (This is the way in which certain behaviors can be imprinted into yukkuri DNA.) This is negated if the yukkuri is fully healed or fed to make it happy immediately afterwards. Quite a number of artists and writers often ignore short memory span for the sake of story and elaborate situations and give the yukkuris in their works a full working memory or at least heavily imply that they will remember what happens to them. As a rule of thumb, the more "scarring" and traumatizing new memories are, the more a yukkuri may able to retain memory of them, sometimes with a little "push", such as with the koyukkuris. This being said, yukkuri do remember the more "important" things in their lives. They can remember their owners, their children and family (they can easily spot a family member in a crowd of yukkuri), basic survival, and the ability to speak. So while they may not remember "minor" things, they can and do remember major things and events.
As they are made of dough, most yukkuris pose little threat to humans and other bigger animals, and they are easily damaged in accidents such as falls. They cannot swim well (or at all) and are frequently portrayed as dissolving if soaked in water for too long. Others, however, can be amphibious in nature or even fully aquatic. Most, if not all, may have similar abilities to those of their real namesakes.
All yukkuri have strong regenerative powers, augmented by access to food, especially sugar and sweets. Given food and care, a yukkuri which has lost about 1/4th of its body can fully recover in a matter of several minutes up to one hour. Stories generally depict orange juice as being an ultimate medicine for yukkuri, instantly healing any wounds. Whether or not it can bring them back from the dead depends on the author.
A series of drawings tries to sheds light about the differences in appearance, abilities and properties exhibited by yukkuris drawn by different authors. This "catchall" theory of yukkuri evolution basically tells how the "Belief Power" exhibited by yukkuris (the ability to achieve illogical feats, like smelling without having a nose, moving without a nervous system, or regrowing lost accessories because they were convinced to do so) is so strong to shape the evolution of entire sub species.
Basically, while life on Earth follows the model set by Charles Darwin, in which evolution is a slow, methodical process of random mutations and the "survival of the fittest", yukkuris follow the Lamarckian inheritance Theory, in which every organism can pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring.
While the "Archetypical Yukkuri", the Marisa-Reimu couple appeared in the first SHIFT-JIS art and image macro had ears, approximating the looks of a grossly disfigured human head, at some point in their fiction histories a yukkuri just "decided" that it didn't need ears to be able to hear, and shaped itself in the current, manjuu-like form we know, accounting for the "later-style" yukkuri. The Lamarckian Inheritance theory is evident about Yukkuri Reimu. While the earliest pictures always showed Yukkuri Reimu with hime-cut braids, later stories and pictures show Yukkuri Reimus with flapping piko piko braids, able to be flapped as fluffy tails or manipulated as crude limbs. It's inferred that a Yukkuri Reimu once saw a braid moving, and believed to be able to do the same consciously, thus turning an immobile, mundane braid into a piko piko; when it managed to do so, every other Yukkuri Reimu accepted piko pikos as the only "natural form" of braids, shaping themselves and their offspring, and other "braided" types, such as the Marisas, started to use their hair as crude limbs. Furthermore, in the Between Studies story the protagonist managed to harness the "Yunhausen" effect by causing a Koyukkureimu to evolve from its most common form to its "Wasa Wasa" (with "puffier" braids) braids simply by praising openly its Wasa Wasa "Big Sister" and berating its ordinary looking braids. By wishing to be as easy as its sister, the Koyukkureimu permanently shapeshifted.
Even so, Yukkuri Evolution is still mostly unexplained and many have debunked the above theory or simply not followed it at all. Some breeders, and even the Factory, have struggled for years in harnessing the believed Yukkuri Evolution potential to breed exotic varieties of yukkuris, with little to nothing success.
Yukkuri can generally be divided into "good" and "bad" ones, known as "niceheads" and "shitheads". For instance, a "nicehead" Reimu is very kind and a good mother, while a "shithead" one is lazy and selfish, to the point of not caring about its young. A "nicehead" Marisa is honest and self-sacrificing, while a "shithead" one is violent and will gladly betray its friends to save its life. A "nicehead" Alice is haughty but kind and smart, while a "shithead" one is a serial rapist, etc. The lines between yukkuri behavior are often blurred, so a black-and-white distinction is not so useful. A yukkuri may appear to be a kind mother at first, singing happily with its children (but treating all others like garbage) and taking care of them, but when a threat appears it may be all too happy to leave the children behind, or purposely sacrifice them. Another common behavior is that the parents are kind, take good care of their children and are friendly with other yukkuris, but don't think anything of stealing from humans. Indeed, they may be very good towards other yukkuris, but will be very active trying to break into human homes.
Yukkuri are also a communal race, despite their strong individualistic streak. That's not to be meant as a contradictory statement; in nature yukkuri are constantly seeking for companionship, developing mental instability and madness if left alone for too much time, and spending their entire lifetime searching for a companion to build a family with. They may even associate in communal structures; however, squabbling for petty things is common and clans and families are known to split apart and collapse.
Yukkuri, for a species with no hands or feet, are surprisingly good builders and burrowers. They can make rather remarkable structures, advanced burrows, and many devices to aid them in their day-to-day lives. Yukkuri are also creative, in a sense, and can use simply items to help them complete their tasks. Though it would appear the more "intelligent" ones are able to do the above listed.
Even good yukkuris, the "niceheads" (as opposed to the "shitheads", the "bad", Deibu-istic Yukkuris) may fall prey to "Yukkuri Logic", the effects of their simplistic, child-like mindset coupled to their utterly animalistic nature. When trying to understand a "nicehead", it should always taken in account that they may unwittingly commit some mischievous or outright "wrong" actions without meaning to do harm.
Yukkuris, as they live a communal, simple life, lack much of the concept of private property. A wild yukkuri usually burrows in the soft ground, digging a nest-hole, or takes its residence in an abandoned hole or small cave; thus a yukkuri coming across an empty human house may think perfectly reasonable move in the "empty Easy Place" with its whole family, eating uninvited all the "easy food" it can find (believing it to be abandoned for good by its former owners) and refuse access to every other individual, yukkuri or human alike, even trying to drive away the home owner. Usually in those cases a human can safely send the Yukkuri family away by asking their permission to "Take it easy together", and then expel (violently or peacefully) them. Furthermore, some strict clans in the wild or in the gutters believe that whoever yukkuri is lucky enough to have an "Easy Place" for itself must also secure its easyness by properly arranging barriers and surveillance; if they abandon their easy place, they were simply not anymore interested at it, or not enough easy to deserve their housing, while the invading yukkuri has proved itself more worthy.
For the same reasons, even a good yukkuri can resort to stealing. In fact, yukkuri have a very limited concept of theft, as the only permanent possessions they own are their own accessories and koykkuris' "Treasures" (their simple toys, mostly shiny rocks in the wild). Unable to grasp concepts as farming (save a few different species that can), yukkuris staunchly believe that vegetables and fruits, as grass and flower, grow on their own, ready to be taken by any yukkuri doing hunt hunt for its family. As such, upon reaching a human settlement, yukkuris will be utterly dismayed when finding a fenced, enclosed garden, and may accuse humans of "Hogging all the Mister Vegetables" for themselves, denying yukkuris the rightful fruits of their hunting. Some more intelligent yukkuris, as mentioned, may be taught the concept of farming and working by telling them that since human work hard to make "Mister Vegetables grow easier"; stealing them detracts from their easiness, a capital sin for a species devoted to "Take it easy" at every cost.
A yukkuri may also, due to its faulty logic, be unable to connect properly the given clues of its wrong doing or at times annoying behavior. In a single case, for example, a Marisa, upon seeing a seemingly "Easy Mister Human" eating tea and biscuit, came near pestering him for biscuits and eating some of them without waiting for the answer. As the human lectured it about the dangers of stealing from humans, the yukkuri "gratefully" deduced that, since the "Easy Human" didn't drive it away or acted angry whatsoever he was letting the yukkuri have food; they were "taking it easy" together and they've just become easy friends, even if the human didn't want to have anything to do with a yukkuri.
A yukkuri's faulty logic can be cause of tragic and at times comical misunderstandings; in tragic ones, two or more koyukkuris are merrily playing together, if one of the kos ends casually hurt, it's parent may assume the other koyukkuris assaulted it, and "punish" them with death. In more comical scenes, when a yukkuri is hurt because of an inanimate item, or sees someone close to it (its koyukkuris or its mate) being hurt because of that (for example, when a koyukkuri hurts itself on a rock), it may try to enact its vengeance towards the item itself, unable to understand the concept of "accident". While most species of animals would associate the item that just hurt it with pain and avoid it altogether, a yukkuri will always assume that the inanimate item it encountered has some degree of malice towards itself, and as the "Uneasy thing made Yukkuri uneasy!" act accordingly, trying to beat it in submission, with mixed results. Basically, yukkuri tend to anthropomorphize, or rather "Yukkurize" every item they encounter in their path (thus explaining the use of the onorific "Mister" for every thing they own or interact with, from "Mister Food" to "Mister Treasure"). Where a normal animal, or even a human, will think "This thing caused me harm, thus is dangerous! I'll avoid it in future", a Yukkuri will think "Mister Thing made Yukkuri uneasy. Mister Thing was mean and uneasy. Yukkuri must punish Uneasy Mister Thing".
However, this process goes in reverse. A yukkuri that grows fond of particular item will be unable to let it go, while a yukkuri with a damaged accessory will often be seen cuddling and licking it clean as with an injured koyukkuri, begging the accessory to "Be easy again", whereas a koyukkuri will do the same for its Mister Treasures. This particular train of thought may lead to comical results, such as an inexperienced hunting yukkuri loudly begging its prey (such as small bugs or caterpillars) to "be eaten easy" and "stop being a bully": i.e., allowing the yukkuri to capture and eat them effortlessly.
A yukkuri's understanding of human orders may be flimsy at best. A yukkuri punished for a mishap may be unable to understand exactly what it did wrong (much like a dog, if punished too late after being caught doing something bad, will be unable to understand the meaning of the punishment). In such a case, a yukkuri will merely bemoan loudly its suffering, sometimes telling the human that it knows that "[Yukkuri name] was punished because is too cute". Some niceheads, and almost every shithead, will outright lie to avoid punishing, almost comically.
Since a yukkuri, even a bad one, usually lacks the mental acuity to be a malicious being, it's not uncommon seeing a yukkuri, while trying to sneak on a fellow yukkuri or a human, loudly repeating "Slowly...slowly", thus negating the effects of its slowed down movements, or lying so badly as to actually confess the truth it's trying to hide (such as telling an owner in the case of an unwanted pregnancy "There's nothing to see. Reimu's not pregnant. Reimu's belly is not bigger. Give sweets to Reimu because Reimu is not having little ones").
However, yukkuri aren't devoid of a faint sense of "Justice". In the wild, yukkuri may have trials, mostly overseen by a Clan Council or the Dosu. In those trials, the guilty part often are condemned to death or exile. The most reviled crime in yukkuri society is Yukkuricide, as it robs the dead yukkuri from the ability to take it easy (a dying yukkuri always cries something on the line of "just wanched to ghet eaji more..."), or every other act meant to prevent a fellow yukkuri from taking it easy.
Yukkuri Logic may also be used as a tool to outwit, outsmart or abuse yukkuris, shithead and niceheads. Generally, Yukkuris are unable to understand the concept of sarcasm, irony and are very poor both at lying and acknowledging lies. Yukkuris tend to always believe others (though not often their young), and treat everyone with a "golden rule" theory that "Since Reimu is nice to Mister Human, Mister Human will be nice to Reimu". Koyukkuri are especially this way, viewing everything as easy and as loving as their parents.
It has, however, to be noted that yukkuris are a somewhat senseless, vapid and contradictory race, and that reflects in their whole logic process and behavior.
So a yukkuri can be, at the same time and without finding that contradictory, wanting to seek out a dark, sheltered place despite being terminally scared of darkness and fearful of ending up entrapped in its new easy place. It may enjoy doing the high high because "It's like flying in the sky", but be fearful of heights because it knows how frail its body is. It may pester its owner to play if left on the ground, and pester him to stop while playing. It can be thus inferred that the whole "Yukkuri Logic" makes little to no sense even to yukkuris, acting more as a pitiful attempt to rationalize their urges and spur-of-the-moment thoughts.
The average yukkuri suffers from discalculia, the lack of the ability to count beyond a certain number, or be able to use numbers at all. Usually, the average yukkuri is unable to count beyond three, with every number coming after being just "lots". As such, a yukkuri will be very confused if asked to count more than four things of the same type, only acknowledged there are "lots". Another interesting consequence of their flaw is that yukkuris are unable to keep tabs on their population. So, despite being able to remember that it has children, a normal yukkuri can't remember all of their children. For example, say that a yukkuri pair has five koyukkuri. The pair will know for a fact that they have children. But if one of the kos was taken away, the pair wouldn't overtly notice nor would the kos sisters. Now, if all the children were removed, the pair would start to complain that their "easy little ones" have gone missing. However, a parent will still recognize its ko regardless of the number it has, but won't be able to count how many it has in total. Owners of pet yukkuri with a large amount of kos are able to keep their pets happy by giving away most of the kos save three or four of them. In the yukkuri's eyes they'll still be "Lots of easy little ones" and "Wots of shisters", thus avoiding to unnecessary stress the frail psyche of the koyukkuris and child-oriented mindset of the now parents.
This being said, koyukkuri will still remember its family (even if the family doesn't remember them) and younger kos will cry out for "moawmma" and "shisters". Even as adults they will remember their parents and sisters.
Yukkuri are unique in the ability to speak, though their words and phrases are slurred or poor as a whole. They also tend to speak in third person (as mentioned above). As seen, yukkuri tend to put the word "easy" and "Mister" in front of nouns, regardless of gender or if said noun is alive or not. So, a female human may be known as "easy mister human" while a rock the yukkuri has just tripped over may be called "uneasy mister rock". In regards to "easy", if the yukkuri is happy or likes something, the object or event will be called "easy". Likewise, if frightened or around something the yukkuri doesn't like, the phrase will be "uneasy".
The phrase "Take it Easy", while used mostly as a greeting, is very important in the lives of yukkuri. Especially koyukkuri. When born, the koyukkuri will loudly declare its birth by saying "Chake it Eajy". In response, the parent is expected by the ko to respond back with "Take it Easy", and each ko after the first expected to be greeted the say way by its parents and sisters. If a ko is born and is not greeted, either by its parent of owner, it will become extremely depressed and refuse to eat and function until it gets the proper greeting. Even then, the koyukkuri may be to far gone. As a rule of thumb, if the koyukkuri does not hear "Take it Easy" within twenty-four hours, it will likely die. The reason for this is that (due to the yukkuri mindsets, as mentioned above) upon birth the koyukkuri is basically asking if it can live an easy life. The response back guarantees the ko that it can live easy (even if it can't). Denying the response to the koyukkuri is basically tell it that it can not live an easy life. Basically put, by not telling a born koyukkuri to "Take it Easy" the koyukkuri feels as if it has been told to "Go Die" or "I don't want you to live".
Yukkuri employ distinctive speech patterns, catch phrases and idiosyncrasies, which differ between types of Yukkuri. For example, Ayas types speak in the form of "Ooh, [Adjective], [Adjective]". So, if an Aya was hungry, it might start off by saying "Ohh, hungry. hungry. Aya is starving". Likewise, if a pet Yukkuri Youmu wants something, it may say "Myon! Mister! Youmu wants that easy rock, myon!" The word "Yuuu" is also a common word used among yukkuri, despite being nonsensical.
While having simple mindsets and vocabularies, yukkuris know a rather large variety of human curse words. Even from birth bad-mouthed koyukkuri can say "shit" and "fuck" (called "shid" and "Fudde"). Older yukkuri are even worse, cursing and using rather sexual remarks, normally referring to masturbation. For example, a rather mean yukkuri could say "Shitty human can go masturbate to pretty Reimu" (a long way of saying "Fuck Off"). Thankfully, curse words are normally seen in "bad" yukkuri. "Good" yukkuri are rarely, if ever, seen cursing. That being said, those raising pet yukkuri would stifle their want to curse as soon as possible.
While yukkuri are generally thought to contain Touhou-based characters, this is far from the truth. Due to the popularity of yukkuri, many authors have created yukkuri based on their favorite non-Touhou characters. These yukkuri types are rather very rare (as only a few artist write or draw about them), and normally have better relations to humans (or just better treatment) than their Touhou brethren.
Relations To Non-Yukkuris
Yukkuri (wild ones, mostly) generally annoy most humans and other "normal" inhabitants of Gensokyo (and the outside world, too). In most of the fan comics, the annoyed get rid of them using indescribable violence, but many others have been depicted as taking a liking to the yukkuris and keeping them as pets/companions.
There exist a number of groups/companies raising yukkuris in various factories (although just the term "factory" is used to refer to them) under often inhumane conditions. Their activities involve torturing yukkuris for the fun of it, breeding normal yukkuris on a mass scale as well as ones which have certain genetic characteristics (such as constant crying or modified basic behaviors to make them more easy to keep as pets), breeding rare yukkuris, producing various yukkuri-based products (such as just-add-water yukkuri ready-meals) and buying/selling yukkuris. Stories generally depict Yukkuris as having an instinctive fear of the "Factory." In recent times, however, the factory has rather faded away into a company that makes yukkuri products with breeders are the ones to breed yukkuri.